Recovering from an addiction requires more than treating the physical effects of substance abuse. Addiction is a disease that affects the whole person: their thoughts, emotions, behaviors, as well as physical health.

An effective treatment plan for substance abuse and addiction incorporates a variety of treatment modalities to address these various emotional and behavioral aspects. At our Addiction Campuses treatment centers, this includes expressive therapies such as art and music therapy.

Each person overcoming addiction responds to treatment differently and has their own unique needs. Providing an array of various treatment modalities within our addiction rehab programs allows greater freedom for our patients to discover the support that best facilitates their own personal healing.

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a supplemental form of therapy that belongs to a group of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices.

The use of art therapy for treating substance abuse disorders (SUDs) dates back to the 1950s. Capable of serving as an addition to conventional treatments like behavioral therapy and medication, art therapy offers an expressive venue for emotional and spiritual healing.

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Art therapy sessions provide a space for patients to process their thoughts, emotions, and experiences through various means of artistic expression. This can provide particular benefit for people who struggle to talk about their experiences, or feel more comfortable expressing their feelings and thoughts through art.

The way art therapy is used can vary between treatment programs. Trained art therapists may guide patients through activities, or allow patients the freedom to explore their options with various art materials.

The types of activities used within art therapy may include:

  • painting
  • drawing
  • coloring
  • collaging
  • sculpting
  • playing music
  • dancing

Art therapy may sometimes be followed by a discussion, where patients can choose to explain their art. Many art projects proposed by our programs’ art therapists are designed to stimulate certain emotional experiences that can be beneficial within the treatment process. This may include creating an art journal, drawing or painting certain emotions, and more.

Patients are encouraged to embrace opportunities for self-exploration and awareness within art therapy. While creative expression itself can offer a beneficial break from individual therapy sessions and other forms of treatment within our programming, art therapy also has several of its own therapeutic benefits.

Benefits Of Art Therapy For Addiction Treatment

Art therapy has shown to offer several therapeutic benefits within rehab programs treating substance abuse and addiction.

This includes decreasing denial, and helping patients with alcoholism become less resistant to treatment – effectively breaking down some of the toughest barriers within the treatment process.

Additional uses and benefits of art therapy include:

  • Exploring emotions: Drug and alcohol abuse can have lasting effects on concentration, memory, and communication skills. Creating art provides a tangible way for people to explore their emotions and share them with others in a creative yet effective way. This can be used to identify when patients are feeling intense emotions such as fear, anger, or depression.
  • Alternative outlet for communication: Many people who have struggled with addiction have a history of abuse or trauma and can have difficulty speaking about it aloud. Artistic expression provides an alternative outlet for people to process and share aspects of their experiences in a way that feels safe and less daunting. Art therapy can be especially helpful for children, teens, and people with communication disorders.
  • Stress management: Some guided art therapy activities focus on stress relief and can help patients learn how to manage stress in healthy ways. Stress painting is a common activity used to minimize or otherwise explore a person’s stress.
  • Increased sense of control:Expressing one’s emotions through art can give patients more agency in controlling how they manage their emotions. Drugs and alcohol are often used to numb intense emotions or flashbacks. By turning to art, patients can learn to process rather than avoid their feelings.
  • Increased insight into personal experiences: Art therapy can provide a new and helpful angle through which patients can reflect on past behaviors and experiences. While conventional forms of talk therapy can also be effective for these purposes, creative exercises offer an additional opportunity for gaining insight.

Although some people tend to be skeptical of alternative therapies, our treatment professionals have observed its positive impact firsthand. Through creative exercises, our patients can experience a renewed invigoration for creation and learning more about what they are capable of in their recovery.

Art Therapy Programs At Addiction Campuses

Our treatment programs at Addiction Campuses utilize various treatment modalities shown to be effective for overcoming addiction. This includes many traditional forms of treatment, such as individual therapy and medication, as well as art therapy, wilderness therapy, and other treatment services.

Art therapy can play an important role in the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing from addiction, and is offered within several of our inpatient and residential rehab programs. Depending on the program, patients may attend art therapy once or multiple times a week.

Art therapy has shown great promise within our programs as a way to increase motivation, participation in the treatment process, and address the unique needs of many of our patients.

Additional features of our inpatient treatment programs include:

  • medically assisted detox
  • individual therapy
  • group therapy
  • mindfulness groups
  • nutritional counseling
  • dual-diagnosis
  • adventure therapy
  • trauma therapy
  • yoga

Our comprehensive approach to addiction treatment provides patients with a strong foundation of skills for lifelong recovery from their struggles. While this is not an easy process, our trained professionals are here to make sure you don’t have to face it alone.

Contact us today to learn more about our addiction rehab programs and to find the treatment you need.